“In Vitro” is a graphic novel by WIlliam Roy and it almost feels like a text-book guide on what a couple can expect when they decide to have a baby via In-Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF). Told from the point-of-view of a male protagonist, the book is filled with biological terms and details about how IVF works. Some might think of it as TMI (too much information), but for others, it will prove to be an intimate look at a life experience that not too many are comfortable to open up about.
The story follows a married couple, very much in love, and all they want to complete their home is the chatter of children, their own biological ones. Despite all their efforts, they fail to conceive and start feeling like they are missing out when all their friends pop babies. After a series of tests, they finally settle on IVF.
It’s funny how despite being a fictional story that’s very personal in nature, ‘In Vitro’ feels dry and cold. There’s a small sub-plot exploring the protagonist’s relationship with his estranged father, which sometimes felt unnecessary, but it’s the only thing that makes the protagonist feel more human. William Roy also weaves in how the protagonist’s thoughts about his dad matter, since is preparing for parenthood.
The artwork is simple and the color palette is largely on the muted side, even though some more variation would’ve been great. For a story about the desire to become parents, a dual perspective would’ve been so much more gripping. What is the woman going through? How does she cope with multiple disappointments? Is she actually happy in the marriage? We don’t know.
Overall, ‘In Vitro’ is a decent one time read. Perhaps it will hold a lot more value to those who’ve had similar experiences. It’s a 3/5 from me.
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